House debates

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Questions without Notice

Energy

2:45 pm

Photo of Ted O'BrienTed O'Brien (Fairfax, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question goes to the Minister for Energy.

Mr Dreyfus interjecting

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Isaacs is warned!

Honourable members interjecting

Members can just contain themselves, including the member for Isaacs. Member for Fairfax, could you just begin your question again?

Photo of Ted O'BrienTed O'Brien (Fairfax, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question goes to the Minister for Energy. Will the minister update the House on how the government is defending Australian families and businesses from higher electricity prices? Also, what are the risks associated with alternative approaches?

Ms Catherine King interjecting

Photo of Angus TaylorAngus Taylor (Hume, Liberal Party, Minister for Energy) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Fairfax for his question and I acknowledge the hard work he does to get a fair deal on energy for his constituents. He knows that this week the government has cracked down on the sneaky late payment fees that are being charged by the big energy companies—big energy companies that those opposite have been defending. The rule change that we've submitted to the AEMC will see 25 per cent of customers and 59 per cent of vulnerable customers who fail to meet strict discount conditions given a fair deal. They will be charged only reasonable costs, and this will save an average household in the member's electorate in South-East Queensland $500 or more.

I was asked about alternative approaches. Modelling released today by a former economic adviser to the Hawke and Keating governments shows that Labor's reckless 45 per cent 2030 emissions reduction target will have the following impact.

Mr Conroy interjecting

Photo of Angus TaylorAngus Taylor (Hume, Liberal Party, Minister for Energy) Share this | | Hansard source

It will cost the economy $472 billion over a decade. It will reduce full-time employment by 336,000 jobs and it will slash wages by $9,000 a year for an average worker. That's $173 a week. Meanwhile, it will increase wholesale electricity prices by 58 per cent. The fact is that, under Labor's big new tax—and let's call it for what it is: a big new electricity tax—Australians will pay more for essentials like food, housing, energy and transport.

Those opposite want to increase every Australian's electricity bill. The Leader of the Opposition has failed to come clean to the Australian people on the impact of Labor's reckless targets, and now we know why. Yesterday, the member for Corio belled the cat in one sector, the mining sector, saying that it would be a wonderful and good thing if jobs were slashed in our most successful export sector. How many regional towns will be devastated by Labor's policies? The Australian people deserve to know what Labor is wanting to sign them up for. Labor's dirty secret is the devastating impact of their high emissions targets. Only this government can be trusted to keep the economy strong. (Time expired)